With the ‘Men in Blue’ set to play against England in Birmingham from 1 August, a closely contested series seems to be on the cards due to the absence of rain and prevailing heatwave in the country.
Former England Captain Graham Gooch feels a “motivated Kohli” could prove to be a dangerous customer in the forthcoming Test series against England as he will look to better his record against the home side in English conditions.
With India set to play England in Birmingham on 1 August, a closely contested series seems to be on the cards due to prevailing heatwave in the country.
“He (Kohli) is a top ranked player in the world at the moment and I think a dangerous customer for England as he has the motivation to improve his record in this country. Every player wants to be known to be able to play well in all sorts of conditions,” Gooch told BCCI.TV in an interview.
Talking about one of the biggest modern day rivalries in Test cricket between Kohli and Joe Root, Gooch said,“Well, they are both world class players across formats of the game. They are both match-winning players. I love watching Virat Kohli and Joe Root bat. They both play all round the wicket and they are both positive, very focussed and I like to see that.
“And I think one thing that people should remember what sets them apart in the modern era—people who watch shouldn’t remember how many runs they score or what innings they played. But (they should remember) when Virat Kohli or Joe Root played an innings, that helped them win the match for their team. That’s what counts. Not the number of runs.
“It might be 50 in difficult conditions or 150 on a flat wicket but when your performance helps your side win the match, that’s when you should be proud of,” said Gooch.
Gooch scored his highest test score against India in Lords 1990 which saw the home team winning the match. He says the Indians are currently a very strong side and they are “improving all the time.” In what could be a closely contested series owing to the prevailing hot weather in England, Gooch said, this might bring the two teams on the same level.
“India are strong side and you don’t get to No 1 rating position without playing well. So, it’s going to be a tight series. England will have a lot to play for as they are under performing,” Gooch said.
“Sometimes in the past, India have struggled when they have travelled abroad. Obviously they have been very strong at home but they are improving all the time.
“And Virat Kohli is very determined to do well. I think he has got a point to prove, he has got a good all-round side, got some good spinners,” he said.
“It is going to be a very close series. As you know, we have had very unusual weather in this country. No rain really for eight weeks. It is unheard of. Probably, it is hotter than what it is in India at the moment. I think that will level it up a little bit.”
If the conditions are overcast Broad and Anderson will come into play, but flatter wickets will make it a much more closer contest, he added.
“If the ball was moving quite a lot, it would have been a slight advantage for people like Broad and Anderson, who are world-class performers, when the ball is moving around. I think wickets will be a little bit flatter and so I think (it is) quite a difficult series to pick a winner actually. May be, one Test either way,” Gooch said.